Who Is At Risk For Pelvic Infection & Is There A Blood Test For It?

Pelvic inflammatory disease can occur in women at any age but women who are younger than 25 have an increased chance of developing pelvic infections1

Women having multiple sex partners or having a sex partner with multiple sex partners put them at enhanced risk for pelvic infections. 2

Pelvic infections are a challenging condition to diagnose so it may require multiple tests to look for signs of infection and inflammation. 34

Who Is At Risk For Pelvic Infections?

Several dimensions of sexual behavior are often associated with an enhanced chance of developing pelvic infections. Women under age 25 and sexually active women in the childbearing years are more prone to these bacterial infections.

But the pelvic inflammatory disease can occur in women at any age but most common in young females. Women with the following are at higher risk of developing this condition

  • Inflammation caused due to sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Being in a sexual relationship with a person who has more than one sex partner
  • Undergoing an insertion of an IUD within the last weeks
  • Pelvic infections occur in recurrent episodes so women having a history of pelvic infections or STD are at increased risk.
  • Women who have a frequent practice of douching flushing bacteria to the uterus. 1

Several studies were conducted to analyze the factors that enhance the risk of pelvic infections. The clinical trials showed that rectal douching was often associated with increased odds of bacterial infections. Frequent douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the cervix that prevent infection.

When these bacteria are flushed out, it can increase the risk of getting pelvic diseases. Other adverse outcomes of douching include bacterial vaginosis, cervical cancer, underweight infants, infertility, and other pregnancy-related complications.

Similarly, those who have undergone gynecologic surgical procedures such as endometrial biopsy, fluid-Contrast Ultrasound, dilation, and curettage are associated with an increased risk of pelvic infections. 2

Is There A Blood Test For Pelvic Infections?

Pain in the lower abdomen is the primary symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease. There are no single laboratory tests to diagnose the presence of the inflammation. Most cases of inflammations are often assessed during the physical examination based on the signs and symptoms.

Some cases are diagnosed during a routine examination for STD but some infections go undiagnosed because pelvic infections are asymptomatic in some women. Therefore, laboratory tests may be ordered to determine the cause of the pelvic infections and to rule out other conditions.

CBC (Complete Blood Count) – During this test, the blood count is determined to check for the presence of infection. An increased white blood cell count indicates a higher chance of pelvic infections. The latest study demonstrates fewer than 50 percent of women have an enhanced WBC count when they experience acute pelvic infections.

Blood tests not only test the blood count level but also used to assess your general state of health and screen for other genetic conditions.34

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection triggered by sexually transmitted bacteria from the vagina or cervix to the reproductive organs. Most cases of pelvic infections develop due to STI but in rare occurrences, there are possibilities to get pelvic infection without having an STD.

These conditions should be treated immediately, infections that are left untreated can lead to chronic infections and often result in infertility. Several symptoms of pelvic infections can be misdiagnosed as appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, or other conditions. Therefore, proper diagnosis and treatment are very crucial to wade infection and for faster recovery.

References:

  1. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).” What are the risk factors for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?  ACOG, www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/pelvic-inflammatory-disease
  2. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Apr. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594
  3. NHS Choices, NHS Tests to detect detect and evaluate associated inflammation, www.nhs.uk/conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease-pid/diagnosis
  4. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.” Lab Tests OnlineWhich blood tests are most helpful in evaluating pelvic inflammatory disease? labtestsonline.org/conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease

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